Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Inexpensive haircuts

More than ever, we're looking to cut a few corners, save a buck here and there. Here's one way to do just that -- with haircuts.

Hair design schools are always looking for live customers to work on. Mannequins only go so far for students. And the public is more and more providing the work. And for those who are folically challenged like myself, it makes sense and cents.

"Our Fridays and Saturdays, it's a full house around here," said Jan Exposito of the Exposito School of Hair Design at 3710 Mockingbird Lane. "It's not unusual at all for our more experienced students to do 12 customers a day. At peak time, if you're talking 30 to 35 students on the clinic floor, there could be 150 to 200 clients."

The economy has forced many to take a hard look at doing without certain items or services, but Exposito said haircuts and styles isn't one of them.

"Even in the toughest of economic times, people still want to look good to feel better," she said. "People might forego buying a nice dress and a pair of shoes, but if they get a new look and cut and color, it lifts their spirits."

Cost of a regular haircut is $5. A cut and style is $10. A cut and style with color is $20. I'm only familiar with the first.

Customers may tip the students, and most do.

"They feel like they've saved so much," Exposito said, "that they can afford to spend a few more bucks to give the student help with gas and coke money. We stress to the student that if you don't give good service, don't expect to be tipped."

No student starts whacking on hair on the first day. In fact, Exposito said the state has a minimum of hours to work on clients, and she requires a minimum of 250 hours of training before practicing on paying customers. They also have to pass a written and practical competency test. Their work is supervised by an instructor.

Appointments are encouraged, but walk-ins are welcomed as well, especially among men. Hours are 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

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